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Which Chickadee - Black-capped or Carolina?

Of all the birds that turn up at birdfeeders, chickadees are favorites. And they’re instantly recognizable. Yet sometimes we have to ask ourselves: “Which chickadee is it?” In the eastern and central states, there are two species: Black-capped Chickadees in the north, and Carolina Chickadees... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

A Gyrfalcon Takes a Pigeon out of the Sky!

In late February, 2014, photographer Gregg Thompson visited a grain silo near Vancouver, British Columbia, where a Gyrfalcon has spent the winter. Actually, Gregg spent several days there, hoping to take a photo of this dashing predator as it catches one of the many pigeons that roost in the silo... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, photography

The Mockingbird - A Virtuoso of Variety

This aptly named Northern Mockingbird might imitate, in succession, birds as different as a bobwhite quail, a chat, a sandpiper — even a cardinal — then cap it off with the meow of a cat and a few phrases of car alarm. In spring, a male mockingbird sings all day, with hundreds of variations ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, species account, vocalization

Seahawks Migrate East to Meadowlands in Winter

A flock of fearless Seahawks is making an epic cross-continent journey to the meadowlands of New Jersey. To prepare for the great migration, they went up against mighty foes -- Panthers, Cardinals, Jaguars, Falcons, Colts, and Rams. They’ll face fierce competition from the Broncos for the turf.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, sports

Riding with Red-tails

Traveling home after a flight into Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, you might share a ride on the shuttle with a Red-tailed Hawk! To protect passengers, planes, and birds, airport biologists Steve Osmek and Bud Anderson capture raptors for relocation away from the airport. Then, as a public service,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

16-Year-Old Aaron Gyllenhaal Sets New Birding Record

Aaron Gyllenhaal is only 16 years old, but he can identify more than 1,000 species of birds! In October 2013, Aaron set a new record, having observed more than 276 species in a single year in Cook County, Illinois. Such an accomplishment requires perseverance. Finding a Lapland Longspur, like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding

The Aqua Tower - Architecture with Birds in Mind

The glass and lights of skyscrapers in downtown Chicago pose danger to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. But the 82-story Aqua Tower is a beacon of a different sort: one for architects embracing bird-friendly design. Compared to some of its neighbors, the Aqua Tower is safer for birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Meet the Blue Jay

If we had to pick one bird’s voice to symbolize our Eastern woodlands, the Blue Jay’s voice would likely be it. And as a frequent visitor to back yards and bird feeders, the Blue Jay is among the most recognized birds of the region. Nearly a foot long, Blue Jays can be loud and assertive when... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound

Clean Nestboxes in October

It’s a wistful moment when your backyard birds — like these Black-capped Chickadees — depart their nestboxes. By October, it’s time for one last duty as nestbox landlord: to clean it out. Cleaning will reduce the incidence of parasites in the box and make it more inviting to next spring’s tenants... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

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